Replacing your copier toner yourself is easy and can save you a lot of money. It doesn’t take long and you can do it without a big mess.
That’s why we’ve created this special page within the site to advise on how you can find and replace the copier toner or toner cartridge on all of your photocopy equipment..
What is copier toner
Copier Toner is the powder that is fused to paper to print pages or faxes and make copies. Historically, toner has been primarily made up of carbon dust. Recently, in order to improve quality, various polymers have been added. The amount of polymer added corresponds to the process the copier uses to reproduce its images. Thus, there are many different formulations of copier toner. It is important to use the correct copier toner formula for your device or you might damage it. Copier toner is provided to the consumer in various forms as specified by the manufacturer. Some of these forms are driven by the requirements of the machine, while others were created to simply reduce costs.
For most of the larger copy machines, copier toner replacements usually come in the form of a bottle. When a refill is needed, a cap of some kind is removed on the copy machine and the new copier toner is poured directly into the toner reservoir. The task is simple, but can be quite messy. It is a good idea to wear gloves and an apron to protect your clothing. Putting something on the floor is also a good idea in case you spill some of the toner. Some units come with a bottle that simply screws in or attaches to the copy machine. This type is a little less messy.
Laser printers, fax machines and all-in-one devices most always use a printer cartridge. The cartridge not only holds the copier toner, but also houses the imaging drum and sometimes the fuser mechanism. Most of these cartridges are not interchangeable with other devices even though some of them may look remarkably alike. Switching these cartridges is usually easy and mostly messes free. Most models simply require you to open an access door, remove the old cartridge by pulling on it, removing a piece of tape or film that holds the copier toner in place, and then simply reinserting the cartridge.
Toner cartridges are available from the manufacturer of your machine or can be purchased from a different manufacturing company. When the cartridge comes from the original manufacturer, it is called OEM which stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. Cartridges purchased from other manufacturers are called Generic. You can also purchase remanufactured cartridges.
Copier toner and toner cartridges can be very expensive. One way of minimizing your costs of copier toner replacement is by refilling your own cartridge. This can be done with the purchase of a refill kit. This kit not only contains the toner, but also a method of making a hole in the cartridge and usually a cleaning cloth or solution. It is a good idea to consider the cost of replacement copier toner and cartridges when you purchase or lease any new copier or printer.
Tips for Minimizing Your Printing Costs.
It seems like I am always running out of copier toner for my laser all-in-one machine. The cartridges can be so expensive! I was determined to stretch my copier toner dollars a little more so I decided to see what I could do to reduce my costs. I wanted to see what I could do in three areas to reduce my costs: reduce what I printed, see what I could recycle and finally take a shot at refilling my own cartridges.
I needed to be more careful about what I printed. It turned out that I was able to reduce quite a few pages by just paying attention. First I would decide if it really needed to be printed. If I really needed it then I would decide if I needed all of the pages or could just print a few of them to accomplish my purpose. I found that if I took screen shots, using a free Firefox plug-in, I could reduce a lot of pages that would print when I printed off of a web page. Before, when I printed a web page, I would always get a page or two that I didn’t even need.
The next thing I looked at was all of the paper I was using. I thought that if I could re-use the unused side of the paper I was previously discarding, along with reducing the print resolution, I could save both toner and paper on drafts. It’s a little bit of a hassle, changing out the paper when I wanted to print a draft, but then I realized that I could put the used paper in the 2nd paper tray and then just select it when I wanted a draft print.
Finally I decided to try to refill my cartridge myself. I bought a refill kit that said it would produce the same amount of pages that the original cartridge did. It came with the copier toner, a tool kit, and a pair of gloves. The directions were clear and I got through it OK. It will be a lot easier the next time. So far the print quality looks the same as before and I saved a ton of money.
If you watch what you print, recycle a little and refill your own copier toner cartridges, you can save some serious money on your next cartridge purchase.
Remanufactured vs. New Copier Toner Cartridges
When laser printers and copiers first came out you had to get your toner cartridge replacements from the Original Equipment Manufacturer, OEM. They were the only game in town and they knew it. They would sell their printers for near cost and then make a great margin on the replacement toner cartridges.
After a while, other companies realized the opportunity to “remanufacture” these copier toner cartridges at a much lower cost so that they could offer printer owners a cheaper alternative. Unfortunately, these early remanufacturers would only refill the cartridges and then sell them. They became known as the “drill and fill” companies because they often had to drill a hole in the cartridge before they could pour more toner into it. There were no parts inspected or changed. Even though each copier toner cartridge needed a special toner mix to maximize its’ yield, the original remanufacturers often used the same generic toner on all of their refills. Finally, no post refill inspections or testing was ever done to verify the quality of the print or to measure the yield. These “drill and fill” companies gained a reputation for poor quality cartridges. Consumers were afraid to purchase these units as they were afraid that the cartridge would be defective or the it would harm their printer or void their warranty.
After awhile, some of the “drill and fill” companies began to evolve and some new companies came into the market that provided a higher quality product and thus a real choice for the consumer. These companies were not just filling up the copier toner anymore. They were now replacing parts like the drum, wiper blade and mag roller. They also began to test their products to determine the yield and print quality of their remanufactured toner cartridges. Finally there is a good alternative to buying your toner cartridge refills from the OEM!.
The next time you’re in the market for a remanufactured copier toner cartridge, look for a company that tests their products, uses the correct toner formulation and replaces the worn out parts. You will get a much less expensive toner cartridge replacement that will give you good print quality without sacrificing you worrying about harming your printer..
Refilling Your Toner Cartridge Yourself
If you follow a few simple instructions, you can refill your own copier toner cartridges and save a lot of money! Although each cartridge type will have a few of its’ own individual instructions, most refills are accomplished with a few common steps. The first thing you want to do is find a nice, safe place to do your refill. Most copier toner is flammable so you want to make sure you are far away from any open flame or ignition source. Make sure you turn off any fans that may be running, or close the windows. The copier toner powder is so light and fine that the slightest air. movement will disturb it. Finally, a little personal protective gear is in order. Wear your gloves and even a mask to keep from breathing any of the fine dust.
The first thing you need to do is to determine if your cartridge has a refill hole in it. Most of the refill kits you buy will give you this information. If you need to make a hole, look over the documentation and determine the hole location. Use the tool that came with your kit and burn the hole into the cartridge. Make sure you keep these tools as you can use them over and over again. Next time, only buy the toner.
Once the hole has been made it’s time to put the copier toner into the cartridge. Most kits will come with a funnel that screws onto the copier toner bottle. Attach the funnel, insert it into the hole and gently tap on the bottle to allow the toner to fall into the cartridge. Do not shake the bottle as this will likely cause a spill. You should be able to get the entire bottle into the cartridge. Once the cartridge is full, remove the bottle and discard. It’s a good idea to place the bottle inside a small plastic bag so you don’t soil your trash container. Now it’s just a matter of sealing the hole. Simply replace the plastic cap, if there was one, or use the supplied aluminum tape.
The last thing before reinserting the cartridge into the machine is to replace the chip, if there is one. This can be accomplished in many was depending upon the type of cartridge, mostly you will just be able to plug it in.
There you have it! Put the cartridge into the machine and run a test print or two. If all went according to plan you will have a great performing cartridge that just saved you a lot of money! You should be able to repeat this process 3 to 5 times before the mechanical part of the cartridge wears out.